UFC 223 is going to be a big day for the sport of MMA. Not just because there’ll be two titles going down on the April 7th card from Brooklyn, New York, but because it also marks the return of Artem “The Hammer” Lobov!
Lobov has become a bit of a cult sensation amongst followers of the sport due to his close friendship to Conor McGregor, and the featherweight fighter will be taking on Alex Caceres on the undercard of 223, which is headlined by a fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov for McGregor’s lightweight belt. So of course when people talked to Lobov about his fight, they also talked about McGregor and whether he’d be attending the event.
“It’s a little bit to soon to say now whether he’ll be there or not,” Lobov told the SevereMMA podcast (via BJPenn.com). “I of course always love seeing him at my fights. It means a lot to me when he is there and I know it means a lot to him to support me, and if he is able to be there, he will be there.”
Lobov also said McGregor was deep in negotiations with the UFC for a return fight and that the most likely opponent was the winner of Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov.
“Yeah, I think he will fight the winner of this fight,” Lobov said. “The winner of that fight will be the true, true challenger and he will fight Conor for the belt ... Like I said, he’s the champion. So, you know, there will be a clear challenger decided April 7th and that’s who Conor is going to fight. That’s the way I see it.”
The UFC seems to already be setting up for a potential McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov showdown in Russia, with rumors swirling that the Olympic Stadium in Moscow has been reserved for a September date. That would also line up with the timeline UFC president Dana White said McGregor’s camp gave him for a return, the timeline that prompted him to set up April’s Tony vs. Khabib fight for McGregor’s soon-to-be stripped lightweight title.
Of course, who knows what’s ever going to shake out properly with the UFC. This is the fourth time Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov has been booked, and what if Ferguson wins? Will McGregor still be as interested in the fight or will he turn to Nate Diaz or Floyd Mayweather instead? There’s a lot of moving parts, but the biggest gear gets in motion at UFC 223 on April 7th.